Since moving into our vacation home full time I have taken on the duty of daytime fire tender. Unlike our previous home, which had a gas fireplace insert to warm the house, here we have a wood fireplace. Yes, you read it right, it needs real wood! And since my new work desk faces the fireplace, it’s easy to tell when a new log needs to be added to keep the blaze going.

There is nostalgia associated with tending the fire, reminding me of childhood and the fires we had growing up. My chore was to keep the fire basket filled with wood, which I did daily during cold winter days. As the daughter of a single mother, she took me and my brother out to the wood pile and taught us how to chop wood. There was also a big stump she’d dragged up close to the wood pile. Misdeeds were rewarded with time at the wood chopping pile. And if particularly heinous, according to my mother, time was added to include chopping up that stump. As adults my family would joke about our misdeeds, and argue as to whether they were deserving of chopping wood time or stump time.

Dreaming is a lot like keeping a fire well stocked and blazing. #ClearPathForward #MidLife #Women #DreamBig Click To Tweet

Yet on the heels of nostalgia and memories come dreams for the future. Thinking about the past reminds me of the person I am today, but also requires me to think about the person I want to be in the future. Perhaps it’s why I so enjoy wintertime. It’s an opportunity to step back, examine where my life is, and determine where I want it to be a year from now. Not in the strict resolution/planning sense, but in the ability to dream and imagine what I could be doing and be in the future.

Dreaming is a lot like keeping a fire well stocked and blazing. Each requires three things:

  • Ideas and insights to fuel your imagination. These may come from past experiences, looking at what you’re doing now, or thinking about others in your life and what they are doing or have done.
  • Belief and faith to fan the flames. To dream big you have to have the belief and faith that your dreams will come to life. There are times when my clients ask, “How can I be sure this will happen?” The answer is you can’t be certain, but if you don’t begin by believing the possibility exists, you might as well give up before ever even starting.
  • Compelling reason to keep the heat turned up. Whether it’s because you see your life passing you by, are discouraged with your current situation, or just want a change, there must be some compelling reason to make the dream a reality. One of the first questions I’ll ask a client, “Why do you want to make this specific change now?” Their answers let me know how important this is to them; their compelling reason for being willing to change. Without this compelling reason, effort falls by the wayside and dreams evaporate from sight.

And while all of these ingredients can be present, it is also important that they be in the right mixture. As an example, I can add some logs to a banked fire, and it will roar back with a fierce blaze. Other logs, if too saturated with sap, green or wet, will extinguish the fire quickly. The same thing occurs when imagining your new self, life or work. Too many ideas, all started at once, can lead to overload and be easily extinguished. On the other hand, a compelling reason that overwhelms you, creates fear and paralyzes you, can also be crushing to your newly emerging dream.

ACTION: What is the right mixture of ideas, belief, and compelling reason for you to envision your newly designed future?

May you discover, believe, and find a compelling reason to make your dreams a reality in 2018.

Kathy Hart, EdD’s driving passion is human change and transformation. Her goal is to provide professional women in midlife with the support and resources needed to re-imagine and lead even more abundant, joy-filled and purpose-driven lives. If you are a woman wanting to reclaim your voice, realize a long-held dream, or just live your life to the fullest, take concrete action by contacting Kathy at The choice is yours!

Services that Kathy offers:

  • 1:1 coaching to support the journey into your midlife transition
  • Trusted advisor for leaders navigating work changes and requiring an expert guide
  • Speaking and workshops on human change and transformation
  • Small group work and team development to boost the group’s performance